We learned yesterday that the bedroom tax may not save as much money as the public were told. In fact it seems that savings were likely to be £160m less than the official projections of £480m for the first year, according to real data collected by four housing associations since April through a model used in 2012 by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to assess the likely impact of the policy.
But we are missing the real story here. What the report written by Professor Rebecca Tunstall at the University of York’s Centre for Housing Policy tells us is that the projected savings were only possible if none of the affected 660,000 households responded to the policy by moving to a smaller home http://www.york.ac.uk/media/chp/documents/2013/Testing%20DWP%20Assessment%20of%20Impact%20of%20SRS%20Size%20Criterion%20on%20HB%20Costs%20University%20of%20York.pdf.
In other words, the bedroom tax was only going to be cost-effective and produce savings if none of the affected households moved. Why did the government make the assumption that nobody would move? Because it knew that there were not enough 1 and 2 bedroom houses to move into.
But let’s look at the implications of this assumption:
· The government knew there was a shortage of one and two bedroom houses
· The government knew that most affected households included a disabled person
· The government knew that people would fall into arrears or cough up their £14 per bedroom because they had no choice
· And the government knew that when it talked about fairness and overcrowding it was being disingenuous.
The bedroom tax had nothing to do with fairness as claimed, because the government knew the policy would hurt the poorest and those least able to defend themselves, nor did it have anything to do with helping overcrowded families move into bigger houses, because the government assumed that was never going to happen.
This has to be the most ruthless, manipulative, callous and mendacious government of all time.